The California Department of Public Health has slapped a $100,000 fine on a care facility in Daly City for nursing home neglect. According to a news report in The Associated Press, Seton Medical Center is facing the most severe penalty allowed under state law in connection with the death of an 81-year-old woman. Officials say, a nurse at the facility left the cap on a breathing tube that was inserted into the woman’s trachea. The woman suffocated and died. State officials said the nursing home received the maximum penalty because it did not have a policy in place for properly inserting the device, which is known as a “T-piece.”
I offer my deepest sympathies to the family members of this elderly patient who died as a result of negligence. They will be in my thoughts and prayers.
Serious Deficiencies in Nursing Homes
More than 1.5 million people live in nursing homes nationwide. That number has only been increasing and is expected to go up in the coming years. According to the Government Accountability Office, about one-fifth of nursing homes in the nation were cited for serious deficiencies – those that jeopardized the life of the patient – in 2008. The GAO report cited poor quality of care such as worsening pressure sores or untreated weight loss in a high number of nursing homes. These deficiencies, the report stated, puts nursing home residents in “immediate jeopardy,” which means that they are at risk of death or serious injury.
Failure to Meet Standards
Nursing homes are required to meet federal standards as a condition of participating in Medicare and Medicaid, which cover more than two-thirds of their residents at a cost of more than $75 billion a year. In this particular case, the nursing home in Daly City seems to have committed a fatal error because they did not have a policy in place when it came to inserting a T-piece.
A number of incidents involving nursing home neglect or nursing home abuse occur due to understaffing in nursing homes. When care facilities hire fewer staff and keep untrained or unqualified personnel on staff, because they are cheaper, and overwork them, it creates an environment that is ripe for abuse and neglect. Such situations stem from nursing homes putting profits ahead of the people they are supposed to serve.
Compensation for Victims’ Families
A family that has lost a loved one as a result of nursing home neglect can file a wrongful death claim against the at-fault facility. Victims’ families in such cases would be well advised to contact an experienced California personal injury lawyer, who has experience successfully handling similar cases and holding nursing homes accountable for their wrongdoing. The best nursing home abuse law firms always offer a free consultation and comprehensive case evaluation to victims or their families.